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Monday, December 19, 2011

De Blasio Announces Support of Living Wage Legislation

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has come out in support of the Living Wage legislation, sending a letter yesterday to Christine Quinn, the Council speaker. Quinn has not yet signaled whether she's going to allow a vote on the bill.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bronx News Roudup, Dec. 6

The Supreme Court decided not to review a lower court decision that upholds the city's right to refuse to provide space in city schools for religious groups. The case emanated from the Bronx Household of Faith's use of PS 15 on Andrews Avenue in University Heights. Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a pastor himself, is proposing a change to state law to allow for the use of public schools for religious services.

Norwood News has a lovely farewell to Sal of Sals's Pizza on Bainbridge Avenue, who is passing his business on to a 32-year-old local resident. 

A 30-year-old boxing gym in the south Bronx is closing.

Five Occupy protesters who joined with local community gardeners at a city-owned lot in Mott Haven to protest plans to develop the site were arrested over the weekend, the Mott Haven Herald reports.

The jurors in the Seabrook trial are divided, raising the possibility of a hung jury.

The Times takes a look at the glut of properties for sale in Riverdale.

Advil sponsors a library in a south Bronx school, raising questions about whether children should be a target of medical advertising. Bronx Ink has the story.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 28

Jenny (J-Lo that is) was, uh, not on the block in a Fiat ad in which she appears to be in the Boogiedown navigating the streets but isn't.

A Bronx teen creates a 3-D printer.

The public corruption trial of Councilman Larry Seabrook is expected to wrap up this week

A teen is recovering after being shot outside his Norwood apartment last week.

A growing population of Mexican immigrants in the Bronx and NYC are falling way behind in high school graduation rates. This story in the Times is the latest in a series of articles in the Times on the Mexican immigrant experience.

Michael Kimmelman, the Times' chief architecture critic, who has exhibited a consistent interest in the borough, explored last week an innovative and attractive S.R.O. (single room occupancy) building on Bronx Park East and many other new ways of thinking of housing in a city where only 17 percent of apartments consist of two-parent households.

The dispute over whether to pave the popular Putnam Rail trail in Van Cortlandt Park continues. 

Two firefighters who came to the rescue of a Bronx teen who was being mugged and assaulted on Saturday will be honored by Councilman James Vacca.

A relatively new city program to address the most neglected residential buildings has not achieved its goals, the Daily News reports.

A power outage at an east Bronx nursing home has left a 49-year-old woman dead.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 23

Today, we're devoting the roundup to the living wage legislation, which was debated in a City Council Committee hearing yesterday.

Norwood News tweeted live from the hearing.

One of the focuses of a New York Times article is Council Speaker Christine Quinn's questioning of both sides, including her asking opponents of the bill if they'd support it if it were scaled back to only include gigantic developments like stadiums and airports. Maybe, they said.

As Azi Paybarah of Capital points out, today's Daily News covers all sides of the argument: Citing concerns of small businesses in her community, Councilwoman Inez Dickens of Harlem withdrew her support for the living wage bill in a column in the Daily News today. Juan Gonzalez supports the legislation, and puts the spotlights on Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. whose leadership in the battle that defeated a mall at the Kingsbridge Armory gave birth to the legislation. Meanwhile, the paper's editorial page states yet again its opposition to the bill.

Here's Diaz's testimony.

Gotham Gazette has a good rundown of the politics surrounding the legislation.

A Sojourners magazine contributor writes in favor of the bill on Huffington Post

In case you missed it, despite heavy union support for the bill, three trade unions came out against it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bronx Alehouse and POTS Partner to Help Hungry

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 16

The latest episode in the Seabrook trial features Stanley Schlein, a long-time attorney/counselor/fixer/ballot-challenger for Bronx Democratic political powers, and sheds a little light on the connection between business and politics in the borough.

St. Augustine Church, a 162-year-old parish in the south Bronx, is being closed and merged with Our Lady of Victory Church.

With Thanksgiving a week away, POTS (Part of the Solution) co-executive director Jack Marth writes about the programs provided and challenges faced by hismulti-service agency, which has expanded into a new facility on Webster Avenue in Bedford Park.

Workers who have raised alleged unfair labor practices at Woodlawn Cemetery for the last several months were joined by a contingent of Occupy Wall Street protesters over the weekend.

A Times "Neediest Case": A Tanzanian family struggles to stay afloat in the Bronx.

A group that believes one answer to struggling schools is to address problems of students with the most problems inside and outside the classroom is active in three Bronx schools.

A Kennedy High School football star, now at Penn State, says he'd never have gotten to where he is without Joe Paterno.

Class sizes are growing, Schoolbook reports. (Link to PDF of preliminary class size report included in article, though no borough breakdowns.)

Neighbors held a prayer vigil for murder victim Bimal Chanda last night in front of his North Fordham apartment building.

Bronx images from the NYC Marathon here.

Beyond the Bronx: Congress declares pizza a vegetable in school lunches. Not the same as the Reagan administration proposing ketchup as a vegetable, but alarming nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 15

On Twitter this morning @CityHallNews reports the following: "Mayoral spox [spokesman] jokes that #ows [Occupy Wall Street] protesters can now occupy Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx." [no link]

An electric truck factory will open in the Bronx.

In a big reorganization Catholic church pastors will no longer be responsible for the schools in their parishes.

Good news and bad news for Williamsbridge Oval Park, where Parks Commissioner Adrain Benepe is scheduled to formally cut the ribbon on a new playground and other improvements this morning.

Bronx Community Pride Center has its own Project Runway.

A third of the BankNote building in Hunts Point will be rented by the city to be a hub for the borough's public assistance programs. Some community leaders are not happy at all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Living Wage Battle Heats Up

In preparation for a long-awaited Nov. 22 City Council hearing on Living Wage legislation, which has its roots in the battle over the fate of the Kingsbridge Armory, supporters, including several Council members, are stepping up their p.r. campaign.

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 14

If you click on nothing else in this roundup today, click on this. It's a fascinating interview in SchoolBook with PS 86 principal Sheldon Benardo, whose school has received an A in the last five school report cards. What's particularly interesting is how candid Benardo is about being a "beneficiary of a corrupt system." When he became assistant principal and then a principal at PS 7 it was a direct result of political connections through his brother. He was barely interviewed for the principal job at a school of 2,300 kids. Benardo talks about how his outlook changed and what he believes is responsible for his success of PS 86, which is right behind the Kingsbridge Armory. And as we mentioned in a recent roundup, the school is sending a group of fifth graders to Paris. 

In the Times' Lens blog, David Gonzalez tells the story of a Dutch photographer who has made University Heights her home and has loving chronicled the lives of her neighbors. Take a look.

Barely missing a beat, former Daily News Bronxologist Bob Kappstatter reports from the annual Somos El Futuro confab in Puerto Rico -- on The Capitol website

Bronx Pride, the borough's largest gay rights group is very ironically moving into new headquarters in a building named for gay-rights foe State Senator Ruben Diaz.

Norwood News' Breaking Bronx blog interviews the attorney for the family of Bimal Chanda, the Bangladeshi man killed in the street near his house just as he was planning to move his family to Parkchester.

Community and political leaders gathered to discuss the alarming uptick in area violence. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn facilitated the session. Norwood News has the story.

Battling obesity in Highbridge.

Riverdale Press probes the increase in school suspensions.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 11

Happy Veterans' Day. 

Four shootings and three murders in the northwest Bronx in the last two weeks have the community on edge.  

Twenty fifth and sixth graders from PS 86 (the school right behind the Kingsbridge Armory) are headed to Paris -- really.

Macy's, opening its first store in the five boroughs in 15 years, is coming to Bay Plaza

A beloved three-year-old restaurant in Melrose is closing its doors

The latest in the Seabrook corruption trial. More here.

Not a Bronx story, but a gorgeous, must-read Jim Dwyer column about a couple, both with cerebral palsy, who jumped societal hurdles and showed that love provides a lot of fuel for a good life whatever the struggles.

One of the Times' neediest cases: A Morrisania vet who fell on hard times is fighting his way back to well-being.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kappstatter on BronxTalk tonight


Bob Kappstatter questioning former State Senator Pedro Espada on primary night 2010. 
Photo by Adi Talwar

Gary Axelbank will be interviewing veteran reporter Bob Kappstatter, who is leaving the Daily News after 43 years, on BronxTalk tonight at 9 p.m. on Cablevision channel 67.

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 7

Buzunesh Deba, a Kingsbridge resident, came in an agonizingly close second in yesterday's NYC Marathon. (Photo by Mohammed Ademo, The Bronx Ink)

A Kingsbridge resident, Buzunesh Deba, who hails from Ethiopia came in second in yesterday's NYC Marathon, missing a win by only 4 seconds, the closest women's finish in marathon history. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. praised the local athlete who is sure to get many thumbs-up as she continues her training in the neighborhood. Mohammed Ademo of Bronx Ink profiles Ethiopian runners, including Fikadu Lemma, who is also from Kingsbridge. Flip Bondy of the Daily News also highlights the Bronx angle of the marathon.

Councilman Larry Seabrook may have the worst attendance record of that legislative body but there's little doubt he'll be showing up in federal court today as jury selection begins in his long-awaited federal corruption trial. City Hall runs down the likely contenders for Seabrook's seat should he be convicted and immediately removed from his position. For a PDF of the details of the indictment, click here.

More details on the life and tragic death of Bimal Chanda, the Bangladeshi resident in Fordham who was killed just as he was planning to move his family to Parkchester because of crime in the neighborhood.

A Bronx teacher protesting at Occupy Wall Street was arrested allegedly for knocking a policeman off a scooter

State Senator Jeff Klein makes his national debut on CBS News discussing legislation to require banks to maintain their foreclosed properties (starts around 1:10 in video below).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Say It Ain't So!

The Daily News lays off Bob Kappstatter, a 43-year veteran of the paper, whose weekly column on the borough is a must-read.

Is Adolfo Carrion, Jr. Thinking of Running for Mayor?

The Perez Notes blog says yes.

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 4

Crazy. The city Board of Elections is spending millions of dollars to fully staff Election Day in the Bronx next Tuesday, even though the only person on the ballot is District Attorney Robert Johnson, who is running unopposed. 

In what tenant advocates say is the highest settlement in a case involving a landlord who overcharged a tenant, a Norwood woman should receive $33,0000 from Urban American Management.

In Kappstatter's column this week: The ticket-fixing scandal he's prosecuting might have Bronx D.A. Bob Johnson in a big bind, but as mentioned above he's running unopposed in Tuesday's election and is the only person on the Bronx election ballot.  Joel Rivera sells his first chunk of property in his moonlighting gig as a real estate agent. And Assemblyman Nelson Castro and District Leader Yudelka Tapia aren't getting along so well.

Juan Gonzalez reports on the copious records of student illness at the former location of PS 51/The Bronx News School.

A Bangladeshi resident of East 190th Street was murdered by two men who made of with $15. Police have video of the suspects.  The man, Bimal Chanda, was on the verge of moving his family to Parkchester.

Three men have been charged in a heroin ring that used retail stores in Marble Hill and Kingsbridge as its base

The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club has voted to support the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween in Norwood, the Bronx


A school night with homework deadline did not deter hundreds of children from coming out for Halloween trick-or-treating on Monday. I took these photos on Bainbridge Avenue and East 204th Street. Click here for a slide show .
The pirate's expression in the image below is exactly how I felt while making photographs on Halloween.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Group Announces Project to Target Bane of Borough -- Cross Bronx Expressway

Two community leaders announced a long-term initiative to fix the Cross Bronx Expressway on BronxTalk on Monday night. Just click play to hear the whole story.

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 2

Is the creation of small specialized high schools siphoning off good students from the few still-remaining large schools like DeWitt Clinton, which just received an F on its progress report? That's the question posed by this article in the Daily News today.

The Bronx added 3.8 percent more chain stores this year -- much more than the 1.6% citywide -- the Wall Street Journal reports following the release of a report from the Center for an Urban Future.

The old Fordham Library will not become an animal shelter as originally planned.

A bailout for the company behind those failed Yankee parking garages? This NY Post columnist believes that's a lousy idea.

The governor's jobs hotline is getting a ton of hits. We're mentioning it in case you need it and haven't hit it yet.

One of the alleged ticket fixers may have covered up a beating by a paint store manager pal, according to a suit filed by the victim

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Nov. 1

The head of Skanska USA, the multi-national general contractor overseeing the troubled filtration plant project in Van Cortlandt Park took some questions from The New York Times and acknowledged there was a federal investigation into the use of disadvantaged business enterprises as subcontractors in public works projects and vowed it wouldn't happen again. He said: "It had to do with the use of disadvantaged business enterprises as subcontractors. We wound up settling with the Department of Justice for around $19 million. Believe me, we’ll never have that issue ever again!"

Two Bronxites have launched an effort to make the Cross Bronx Expressway less crowded, polluted and dangerous. (We'll put up the video of last night's BronxTalk, where the initiative was announced, as soon as it's available).

Savor the Bronx, the borough's Restaurant Week, which actually goes through Nov. 13, starts today. Check out some of the participating restaurants.

A construction worker in Soundview was killed when the building he was working in collapsed.

NAACP chief Ben Jealous announces his support for living wage legislation in the City Council that resulted from the defeat of the city's mall plan for the Kingsbridge Armory. He will attend a rally for the bill, which the mayor opposed and Council Speaker Christine Quinn is undecided on, at Riverside Church on Nov. 21.

High school students in the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative interviewed Norwood merchants and residents about what they'd like to see take root in the large Bainbridge Avenue lot leveled by fire two years ago. (Includes video.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cross Bronx Exclusive on BronxTalk

Tomorrow night BronxTalk will present your first look at the "Cross Bronx Expressway Initiative," a movement by some forward-thinking Bronxites to try to address the nation's worst highway and a virtual killer in the Bronx. Bronxnet's channel 67. 9 p.m. Monday night. 

One of New York City's longest running TV talk shows now in its 18th year, BronxTalk is seen each Monday night at 9:00pm on Bronxnet's Cablevision channel 67.  It's also on Verizon Fios channel 33 and streamed live at www.bronxnet.org.  Hosted by Gary Axelbank and produced by Jane Folloro, BronxTalk is repeated each day at 9:30am, 3:30pm, and 9:00pm. Archives are available here: BronxTalk archives

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 28

Bummer: A Nor'easter is headed our way

Restaurant Week in the Boogiedown (Savor the Bronx) and its featured restaurants are all well and good, says Gothamist, but there are many under-noticed culinary gems in the borough that deserve your attention.

The Occupy Bronx protesters, who have been meeting at (but not really occupying) Fordham Plaza on Saturday have a famous borough-based corporate target in their sights: The New York Yankees.

A new push to step up enforcement of the pooper-scooper law in the Bronx, formally titled "Don't Be a Pooper-trator" was announced yesterday at the Bedford Park Senior Center by Bronx Borugh President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and the city's Sanitation commissioner, John Doherty. (Includes video)

We linked to the Times story yesterday about the brand new Poe Park Visitors' Center being padlocked indefinitely for lack of staffing. The Norwood News, on its Breaking Bronx blog, reports that a Parks Department spokesman told the paper in June that the Center would be open within a month.

A gritty but glorious effort to showcase a sculptural dome made mostly of umbrella spokes -- created by two artists and volunteers based at Rocking the Boat in Hunts Point -- in the waters off of Inwood ran ashore last Wednesday on, of all places, Rikers Island. For different takes on the story see the Hunts Point Expess, and Jim Dwyer's NYT column.

The Riverdale Press reports that the city won't built a pedestrian footbridge to connect parts of Van Cortlandt Park separated by the Major Deegan Expressway. The footbridge was embedded in the City Council's approval to site the filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park, a project whose cost has tripled to $3 billion.

Montefiore is tweeting its job openings @MontefioreJobs. Here's one

Stable stats aside, crime is getting more violent in Marble Hill.

Data Dump: New On-Line Info Tells Us Where and How We Live and Rent

New data sources highlighting housing and population trends in our borough and city are now on-line, including a great new database and interface from the Furman Center. The NYU housing research center recently debuted their brand new Subsidized Housing Information Project, also known as SHIP, that has a wealth of information about more than 2,500 properties in the city that have some form of subsidy that keeps rents affordable for tenants. The New York Times Real Estate Section recently profiled the new database.

Properties generally fall into at least one of four categories, including HUD Insured (e.g., a Section 202 Senior Housing project), project-based Section 8 (as opposed to the voucher program), low income housing tax credits (responsible for much of the affordable housing created in NYC the past two decades) and a state moderate and middle income program known as Mitchell Lama that includes buildings such as Tracey Towers and Keith Plaza.

About 675 subsidized properties fall in the Bronx, though more than 80 of these have already opted out of their affordability requirements and now offer market rents. (You can find out this type of information pretty easily on their website.)

One of the main purposes of the SHIP database is to help advocates identify properties where affordabilty requirements will expire in the coming years and develop strategies to preserve these homes as affordable for current and future tenants. Citywide, 329 properties with 66,000 units have already opted out of their affordability programs. While new affordable units are created every year and counted as part of the mayor's 10-year 165,000 unit plan, it is much more cost effective and efficient to preserve an apartment as affordable than to build a new one.

Rent stabilized properties are not included in the SHIP database as they are not subsidized, merely regulated. (Indeed, any apartment where a family pays half of their income on rent cannot be considered affordable, as is the case for nearly 40 percent of Bronx renter households.

You can get this data on the same Furman Center site under the "Neighborhood Info" tab.) Yet the loss of cheaper rent stabilized apartments greatly exceeds the loss of subsidized units, and the Bronx is ground zero for families struggling to make rent each month in a nation where real wages for the bottom 50 percent declined by 12.6 percent between 1980 and 2007, and have managed just an 0.7 percent annual growth for those in the 50-95th percentiles (see page 18 of this research paper by the Fiscal Policy Institute).

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office just released a report on the growing income gap that is fueling the sentiment behind Occupy Wall Street and related movements. The Census Bureau has also been releasing a steady stream of data on this hot topic and the Pew Center has done a great job analyzing and condensing this data while posting a series of articles including this one on the growing poverty rate numbers. A similar report delves into the topic of multi-generational households, and how more and more relatives are doubling up to reduce housing costs. They break this data down by household type, age, gender, ethnicity and place of birth, and populations that predominate in the Bronx are those whose rates of doubling up are the highest nationally.

Finally, for more Bronx-specific Census 2010 data, don’t miss Lehman College’s Bronx Data Center page. Professor William Bosworth has begun to map the new data on race and ethnicity at the micro level in the Bronx (census blocks) and at the neighborhood level for the City.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 27

The Bronx's first restaurant week, officially known as Savor the Bronx (we mentioned it in yesterday's roundup) is getting a shoutout from ZagatBuzz. "The borough is giving everyone an excuse to get their butts way uptown," the site says.

The Irish Echo reports that the Transportation Committee of Community Board 8 has given its OK to the naming of a street near Gaelic Park in Kingsbridge for the late human rights activist and lawyer Frank Durkan.

The Bronx Museum of Arts will screen the documentary "Garifuna Nation"on Friday at 7 p.m. (Video)

Kappstatter gives us the rundown on what the political machinations may be behind Bronx Democratic boss Carl Heastie not nominating a new executive director of the city Board of Elections for more than a year now. Also in the column, is news of the first meeting of the Bronx Young Democrats Club tomorrow night.

The New York Times Arts section reports some hard news about the new Poe Park visitors' center being shuttered and vandalized for lack of funding to staff the raven-shaped building.

City Comptroller John Liu discussed the economy with Bronx Community College students last week and made other stops in the borough. (Video)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Plans for the High Bridge

This video explains the history of the High Bridge, which is due to open to pedestrians in 2014.

Living Wage Study Focused on Program Not Covered by Legislation

The $1 million city-commissioned study that found that living wage legislation (which would require employers in commercial developments receiving public subsidies to pay workers $10 with benefits and $11.50 without) would result in the loss of 13,000 city jobs focused on a real estate program that's not even covered by the bill, City Limits reports.

The legislation grew out of the local battle that killed the mayor's plans to turn the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall.

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 26

The first ever "Savor the Bronx" restaurant week from Nov. 1 to Nov. 13 will feature 20 percent discounts at participating restaurants and more.

A massive West Farms development project is moving closer to reality as the properties on which it will sit have been rezoned by the City Council. The mixed-use project will include 1,300 units (half of them affordable housing) and 46,000 square feet of retail space. It straddles both sides of the Cross Bronx Expressway. The Tremont Tribune reported on planning for the development back in June. Former Council Speaker Gifford Miller is a partner in the development firm, Signature Properties. More coverage here and here.

The Grand Concourse, from 153rd Street to 167th Street, was designated as a historic district by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday. More history of the century-old thoroughfare here.

Trash output is down all over the city, except the Bronx. (Story is worth checking out for the lede alone:-)

A new species of bat is named for researcher at the Bronx Zoo.

The new Marion Avenue Neighborhood Association formed after a wild gun battled earlier this month on Oct. 9.

Bronx hip-hop duo Rebel Diaz performs their "We're the 99 percent" rap for Democracy Now!

Occupiers and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition activists merged agendas on Saturday. Norwood News has the story.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BronxTalk Focuses on the Dangers of Plastic Bags

BronxTalk last night featured experts on the impact of plastic bags on our planet. Just click play above and learn.

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 25

While you were sleeping, Bronx Ink documented the goings on at the Fulton Fish Market.

Also getting some Ink: The Morrisania post office is one of 18 in the Bronx on the chopping block.

Everyone's wondering what the Occupy protesters are going to do as the temperature drops. City Limits has some answers.

Yesterday was Food Day in New York City, and Sen. Gustavo Rivera used it as an opportunity to continue to push his Bronx CAN Health Initiative at the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula in Bedford Park and to announce that he's lost 16 lbs. of the 20 he pledged to lose at the start of the initiative.

Now here's a good idea: Community Board 11's district manager Jeremy Warneke is taking a monthly tour with a Buildings Department Inspector of local apartment buildings with lots of violations. He's already discovered some illegal basement apartments. (Video)

Capital has this terrific in-depth story that takes a look at the struggles of a Chinese take-out restaurant in Mott Haven. It's also interesting how the reporter ended up profiling this particular establishment.

More delays for an ice skating rink planned for Van Cortlandt Park, The Riverdale Press reports.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bronx Documentary Center Opens its Doors -- and Hundreds Flow In


The Bronx Documentary Center opened in the Melrose section of the Bronx on Saturday. The Center, located at the intersection of Courtlandt Avenue and East 151st Street, launched with an exhibition of multimedia and photographs by the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington (including his video work shown on the wall of a building across the street from the Center). Hetherington died tragically last April while covering the conflict in Libya. Last week, BDC founder Mike Kamber posted a moving article on the New York Times Lens Blog about Hetherington, a good friend who helped inspire him create the center.

The opening attracted hundreds of people that crammed the storefront gallery and its backyard. The crowd included journalists -- including the author and war reporter Sebastian Junger -- as well as photographers, students, family and friends of Hetherington, and Bronx artists and enthusiasts.


For me, the experience of attending the opening was inspirational at many levels. Making photographs in the presence of famous photojournalists was daunting, scary and thrilling. Click here to view more photographs made during the resoundingly successful opening.


Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 24

More than 6,000 bikers participated in yesterday's 17th annual Tour de Bronx, a bike ride that circles the entire borough. (Video) If you went and have photos, send us one at bronxnewsnetwork-at-gmail.com. We'll post some!

From the Daily News today: PS 8 in Bedford Park has as many as 40 students in a classroom but new legislation requiring the Department of Education to provide more details in their reports on school capacity won't fix the perennail rampant overcrowding in local schools, parents say. What will? Building more schools.

The issues of whether the Bronx Household of Faith can use PS 15 for its Sunday services is a national issue with this latest report from UPINorwood News had this in-depth report back in June.

Supermodel Tyra Banks surprised 400 students at the High School for Teaching and the Professions at the Walton campus in Kingsbridge Heights last Wednesday, bringing her Get Schooled Foundation agenda to the college bound.

A nun who has been in her Hunts Point Parish for 49 years celebrated 60 years in the Sisters of Charity despite her being dismissed, along with other church staff, by the church's new pastor. 

Councilman Fernando Cabrera talks about his legislation to require the NYPD to release crime data for sectors within precincts, an issue raised by the Norwood News and BxNN.

Twelve people are running the New York Marathon to support the large social service organization BronxWorks.

Speaking of BronxWorks, it was one of eight organizations citywide to be awarded a city contract to develop an Innovative Senior Center. According to the Nonprofit Press, "Innovative Senior Centers will be held accountable for producing vibrant programs, high participation rates and better health outcomes for older New Yorkers."

Shootings are up in the Bronx and throughout the city.

Affordable housing construction projects, including some in the Bronx, are under scrutiny by the city and feds for wage infractions and kickbacks.

The HUB business district on East 149th Street now has a Facebook page.

Bronx Underground is having a Halloween Party on Oct. 29.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 21

Bronxites Occupy Wall Street
It took a few weeks but Bronxites are getting together to support the protest movement that began in Zuccotti Park and has spread across the country and the world.

Breaking Bronx, the Norwood News' new blog, has a good roundup on Occupy activities and coverage, including news of Occupy Bronx getting together with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition for its big meeting tomorrow at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church.

Some more coverage in the Mott Haven Herald here, including Buddy Stein's editorial supporting the borough's entry into the fray

Talk about a teachable moment: Parents who long to show their kids what democracy looks like but worry about bringing them to a crowded protest heavily dominated by adults, are in luck. Occupy Wall Street is hosting a family evening and sleepover tonight in Zuccotti Park. Another draw is kids' music star Dan Zanes.

More Bronx News
The New York Times' "Lens" blog highlights the new Bronx Documentary Center in Melrose, which will show the work of Tim Hetherington, the photo-journalist who died in Libya and was an inspiration for the birth of the Center.

In Bronx Ink, Yemenis talk about the turmoil they left behind.

A federal grant comes to the Bronx to protect women victims of abuse and to track the cases of their attackers.

Riverdale Press covers the borough's first education summit ever at Lehman College.

What a mess: The Press also reports on the lousy conditions at the new location of PS 51/The Bronx New School. More chemicals, a leaky roof, and lousy wiring are riling parents who were already fed up after being told in August that the Bedford Park school had to close because chemical contamination discovered at the site.

Pumpkin Fest at Garden


Yesterday, the world's largest pumpkins arrived at the New York Botanical Garden. And like last year, the Garden is hosting fun activities for children and adults through Halloween. Details here.

These photos are from last year's festivities where Scott Cully gave shape to the biggest Jack-O-Lantern on record. Click here for more photos.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Speaker Quinn Speaks; Consents to Living Wage Hearing

For months, advocates of living wage legislation, including 30 members of the City Council, have pushed to get the bill a hearing, a necessary step in getting the measure through the chamber.

The stumbling block has been Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was boosted into the Council from a progressive foundation of community organizing and housing advocacy. But in positioning herself to run for mayor, Quinn has tiptoed carefully between business interests and the determined campaigns of labor and grassroots groups around the city.

Questions about the issue make her testy. "You’re like a dog with a bone,” she told a Daily News reporter who asked her about the legislation last week.

Quinn relented Monday and agreed to a hearing. The move came after the bill supporters, including the Bronx's Oliver Koppell and Annabel Palma who authored it, watered down the legislation so that it wouldn't apply to developments receiving less than $1 million in subsidies or to businesses with less than $5 million in revenue.

And last week, every state lawmaker in the Bronx, except for State Senator Jeff Klein who formed an Independent Caucus in the Senate with a few conservative Democrats, wrote to Quinn in support of the legislation, which grew out of the battle over a city plan to to subsidize the Related Companies mall project at the Kingsbridge Armory.

"Given the millions of dollars in profits developers take home to make these projects work, and the heavy subsidies that supplement that profit, we do not think it is too much to ask that the jobs created offer a 'living wage,'" the pols wrote. "In fact, it is the very least we can do, especially when these developers are taking so heavily from the taxpayers' wallet."

Yes, Quinn could table the bill after the hearing like she did with sick leave legislation last year, but this time there's the minor issue of a worldwide protest movement with a focus on income inequality taking root a stone's throw from Quinn's City Hall office. And if those protesters planting their flag in Zuccotti Park have shown one thing, it's that they don't mind taking a walk now and again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy the Bronx on BronxTalk last night

Here's a link to last night's BronxTalk that featured Occupy Wall Street and Occupy and the Bronx with activist Ephraim Cruz and Monroe College criminal justic professor Augstine Aloia, who analyzed police resopnse. 

BronxTalk - October 17, 2011

Let's Dance


This is one of the many photographs I took at the Jerome Gun Hill BID festival on Sept. 24

Please click here to see one more from that day.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 17

A spirited group of Puerto Rican regulars meets up for fun and friendship at this corner in Melrose (photo above by F.G. Pinto). The Mott Haven Herald has the story.

City Hall has a must-read today, questioning why there are no likely Latino candidates waiting in the wings for the 2013 mayoral race, just like in 2009, despite there being 860,000 registered Latinos in the city. “There is a crisis of leadership in the Latino community,” Jaime Estades, the president of the Latino Leadership Academy, told the paper. “The Latino politicians, they just go through the motions.” Some observers like Estades said too many young pols wait in vain for signals from Democratic Party bosses. Fernando Ferrer, the last Democratic candidate for mayor, disagrees and points to several up-and-comers like Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and State Senator Jose M. Serrano. 

A stalled bridge project that is key to connecting parts of the Bronx River Greenway, may finally make some headway now that the federal Interior Department has stepped in to try to broker a deal between the state Department of Transportation and Amtrak.

30 Rock star Tina Fey took a stroll in the New York Botanical Garden on Monday with her newborn and 6-year-old. 

Here's a video report from NY1 on that tense meeting PS 51 parents had with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott last week.

A veteran Department of Education red-tape cutter, who spends his day visiting principals all over the Bronx, proves that "bureaucrat" is not a dirty word.

Bronx Ink has an audio slideshow reporting on the reopening of Poe Cottage on Oct. 15 after a renovation.

Jasmeet Sidhu of Bronx Ink, which is an on-line paper published by Columbia journalism students, records a lively debate between two Norwood storeowners -- Allan Freilich of Freilich Jewelers and Eamonn McDwyer of McDwyer's Pub -- over who has the oldest store.

A Bronx stop on the farm-to-table food chain gets some coverage in the Capital.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 14

A Bronx reverend was arrested for cashing the pension checks of a teacher who died a decade ago.

Jury selection is set to begin on Nov. 7 in the trial of Councilman Larry Seabrook and his legal team is talking strategy.

The city may come to the rescue of the parking garage company that's near bankruptcy thanks to fans that have avoided the expensive parking option like a batter dodging a beanball. Affordable housing may be in the mix and the borough president is still pushing for a hotel.

The Tour de Bronx, a cycling event that takes riders on a glorious ride around the entire borough, is on Oct. 23 and registration is underway.

Assemblyman Dinowitz is proud of his near-bottom ranking from the state's Conservative Party.

Nos Quedamos (We Stay), the nonprofit that was a key proponent of rebuilding of the arson-leveled neighborhood of Melrose, is under investigation by the state attorney general's office, according to the Bob Kappstatter of the Daily News. Board members  have fired Yolanda Gonzalez, the executive director and daughter of the group's late founder, Yolanda Garcia. They say she put relatives on the payroll and drained the group's bank account.

The Bronx Ink profiles the south Bronx activist hip-hop group Rebel Diaz.

Occupy Wall Street on BronxTalk

On BronxTalk this Monday night Ephraim Cruz of Occupy the Bronx will join Monroe College criminal justice professor Augustine Aloia in a discussion with host Gary Axelbank about Occupy Wall Street. Mr. Cruz will talk about the protest and the demonstrators, while Professor Aloia, a former NYPD detective, will evaluate the police tactics being used. Viewers can call in at 718-960-7241. Now in its 18th year, BronxTalk is seen on Bronxnet's channel 67 every Monday night at 9pm.

Last week, BronxTalk celebrated its 17th anniversary with a show featuring the Bronx rock group, A Moment's Worth.  You can see it here:   BronxTalk - October 10, 2011

One of New York City's longest running TV talk shows now in its 18th year, BronxTalk is seen each Monday night at 9:00pm on Bronxnet's Cablevision channel 67.  It's also on Verizon Fios channel 33 and streamed live at www.bronxnet.org.  Hosted by Gary Axelbank and produced by Jane Folloro, BronxTalk is repeated each day at 9:30am, 3:30pm, and 9:00pm. Archives are available here:  BronxTalk archives

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bronx State Senator To Teach Free Civics Class

Bronx State Sen. Gustavo Rivera goes back to his roots in academia to teach a series of civics classes that start tonight at 6 p.m. at the Bronx Library Center. Click here for the full story from the Norwood News.

Mott Haven Exhibit Highlights Work of 4 Bronx Artists

Ray Lopez's 8 and a 1/2 was on display this summer at BronxArtSpace.
The work of four artists who met each other while working at The Point CDC in Hunts Point was on display at Mott Haven's BronxArtSpace Gallery in August. The Mott Haven Herald has the story.

2011 Tour de Bronx Registration Open Now

Yesterday, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. kicked off registration for the 2011 Tour de Bronx, which is scheduled for a week from Sunday, Oct. 23. For the full story from the Norwood News, click here.

Bronx Events!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 11

A security guard apparently shot himself to death on the roof of the Bronx district attorney's office on East 161st Street.

New York Times columnist Michael Powell looks at the living wage battle through the eyes of a south Bronx mom struggling on $9.25 an hour with no benefits.

The crime and murder rate is way up in Morris Heights and the rest of the 46th Precinct -- including four murders in the last month -- and Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson organized a rally in response.

Some custodians at Jacobi Medical Center are earning healthy six-figure salaries.

The parade grounds in Van Cortlandt Park will be closed to cricket players and other athletes until next fall, depriving park users of the fields for a third straight season. The reason? Too many weeds among the new grass. Needless to say, the players are not happy.

Arlene McLaren, a former staffer of Councilman Oliver Koppell, has been hired as the executive director of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce in Maryland.

Muggings in the Williamsbridge Oval brought Norwood residents together for a march in the park

Norwood News interviews Lehman Center for the Performing Arts executive director Eva Bornstein for a preview of the organization's 31st season.

Mott Haven Herald reports on those Queens chickens migrating to Brook Park in the Bronx.

Bronx Ink asks the question: Why is Heritage Field Still Closed?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bronx New School Parents Take Complaints to DOE

The site of the former Bronx News School/PS 51 on Van Cortlandt Avenue Eastand Jerome Avenue in Bedford Park. (Photo by Adi Talwar)
The Panel for Educational Policy meeting this Wed. is likely to attract a bigger crowd than usual, as Bronx New School parents and their supporters will bring their complaints about the lack of information about toxins at their old school site in Bedford Park and possibly at their new site in Crotona. Click here for info.

Bronx Events!

Sunday, October 9, 2011



I made this photograph on August 2, during the National Night Out event at the Williamsbridge Oval Park.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Adi's View


Made this photograph at the Jerome Gun Hill BID Street Festival on Sept 24 2011


Bronx Events!

Enjoy the long weekend, everyone. If you're looking for something to do, go no further.

Editor's note: What did we miss? Send details to bronxnewsnetwork[at]gmail.com.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 6

Put aside for a moment what a bummer it is for Yankee fans that their $200 million team didn't get past even the first round of this years' playoffs. What about the loss of tax revenue for the city resulting from the absence of hundreds of thousands of fans in the coming weeks? Neil deMause, who writes regularly about sports economics, reports on the Village Voice blog that experts on this issue are pretty much on the same page that the impact is limited or even nonexistent.

The long delayed baseball fields on the land that was occupied by the old Yankee Stadium will be accessible only if you have a permit, Dan Beekman reports

David Gonzalez has a new column on the Times' City Room blog called Side Street. It features his writing and photography. His first one is about a community garden in the south Bronx that has suffered from recent thefts but presses ahead to bring Puerto Rican heritage and healthy food to the community.

The borough's Republican commissioner at the city's Board of Elections, J.C. Polanco accuses a Manhattan Democratic commissioner of verbally threatening him and agency staff.

Some tenants say the system intended to make sure that landlords provide heat to tenants in broken.

Local schools may lose staffers from layoffs as early as today, the Riverdale Press reports.

Unless they're convicted of a felony, cops involved in the ticket-fixing scandal will receive their full pensions.

Can't make the trip to the Wall Street protests? Big banks on local streets are a target worthy of your ire too, the Riverdale Press opines.

This slide show on Bronx Ink follows a Soundview resident as he marches and rallies at Occupy Wall Street

Bronx Ink also reports on the occupiers showing solidarity with education workers protesting 700 school layoffs at City Hall.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Seis Del Sur at the New York Times

This time lapse movie was created from photographs made during the Seis Del Sur presentation at the New York Times building last Thursday.

Thirty years ago, six young men had just started their exploration of an art form called photography. Independently, the six documented their communities in the south Bronx. During this low point in our history the borough lost thousands of buildings to arson, which of course also brought down neighborhoods and families. Their work is unique and beautiful as it is the Bronx examining itself, rather than the work of outsiders making photos of “the poor Bronx” for a few hours.

As a proud Bronx resident and photographer it was inspirational to see their work and hear their thoughts which they shared during a frank, open and very interesting Q&A.

I'll post another slide show of photographs and maybe a sound recording from the event a little later.

Thank you Ricky Flores, Edwin Pagan, Joe Conzo Jr, Angel Franco, David Gonzalez and Francisco Molina Reyes II for sharing your beautiful work. Please visit www.seisdelsur.com to explore their work and them.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bronx Events!

Editor's note: What did we miss? Send details to bronxnewsnetwork[at]gmail.com.

Bronx News Roundup, Oct. 5

Revoking the registration of the bus company responsible for the bus crash that killed 15 people on the I-95 in the Bronx in March hasn't put the brakes on the owner who is still booking passengers through two other companies.

A new building for a charter school in Hunts Point is the first educational facility built in the neighborhood in 30 years.

The Times artchitecture critic who wrote that rare front-page review/appreciation of the Via Verde housing development in Melrose, followed up on the Times arts blog with a post and a video of his tour of the neighborhood with city planning commissioner Amanda Burden. Nice work, Mr. Kimmelman. Keep it up!

A $4 million U.S. Army Corp of engineers contract will result in the restoration of wetlands in Soundview Park.

A WNYC "radio rookie" filed a report on growing up in poverty in the Bronx.

The Bronx FEMA center, set up after Hurricane Irene barreled through the borough, is closing today at 5 p.m. 

As part of Carnegie Hall's neighborhood concert series, Chris Washburne and SYOTOS will perform on Friday at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.  

A look at how and why organized labor is getting involved with #occupysallstreet beginning with a big rally today

The final study on the effect of proposed living wage legislation by the city's Economic Development Corporation is out and guess what? They think it will limit economic growth and not help workers' that much. The study doesn't reflect changes to the legislation that reduces the number of businesses affected. 

The Bronx Culture Trolley returns tomorrow.